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Twenty-five years ago, we started writing these newsletters to our family, friends, and supporters. Without counting, this should be at least our 100th. So, it is with a multitude of mixed emotions that we write this, our last official newsletter as missionaries with the North American Baptist Conference. Each of our letters has carried our family theme Bible verse, Ephesians 2:10. It was always our goal to explore and discover all the good works waiting for us to engage with in Cameroon, while striving to keep the focus on being light and salt over just doing good. (If interested, read more on being and doing in an article Calvin wrote for the Spring 2022 issue of Onward – p. 24). Our hope and prayer are that individuals and communities in Cameroon have tasted the Good News of God’s Kingdom because we sojourned amongst them. We recently read the following words that summarize well our quarter-century focus in Cameroon:
God is already present. God’s Spirit is dwelling within us. We cannot search for what we already have. We cannot talk God into coming “to” us by longer and more urgent prayers. All we can do is become quieter, smaller, and less filled with our own self and our constant flurry of ideas and feelings. Then God will be obvious in the very now of things, and in the simplicity of things. To sum it all up, we can never get there, we can only be there (R. Rohr, A Spring within Us, p. 231).
Our November 2022 newsletter focused on gratitude. It’s only fitting that we continue our gratitude list and share just a few of the many things we are grateful for from the past 23+ years of life and service in Cameroon:
- For parents and family who gave their blessing and embraced our call to Cameroon.
- For the many missionary predecessors in Cameroon who laid the foundation of Kingdom service for us to build on.
- For a sending organization (NAB) that holistically cared so well for us.
- For the privilege to lead and walk with others along the path of Jesus.
- For engagement in public and personal programs that have eased suffering.
- For the countless Cameroonians we were blessed to live, laugh, cry, and serve with.
- For the handful of Cameroonians who helped make everyday living possible in a vastly different culture.
- For the privilege to raise our daughters in cultures and communities that have given them the ability to influence whatever diverse communities they find themselves in.
- For health and protection through illness and war.
- For the privilege to see a bit more of God’s Kingdom come amongst people and communities often marginalized and forgotten.
- For you, our many faithful supporters, and your faithful prayers, gifts, and love over that past quarter of a century.
- The list is endless . . .
We are also grateful for our NAB leadership that provided the space and opportunity for us to heal, rest, and renew after leaving Cameroon last June 2022. Unfortunately, this meant that we did not travel to visit most of you, our supporters. While nothing replaces in-person visits, you can see and hear us in this brief video in which we share our reflections and appreciations.
Our final words of blessing over you are the words of the Prayer of Saint Francis. Wherever you find yourself in the world, in life, in a time of joy or challenge, whatever situation you find yourself in, may you avail yourself to be an instrument of peace and love. For a beautiful musical rendition of the prayer, watch The Porters Gate at: Instrument of Peace.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in forgiving that we are forgiven,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Grace and Peace,